Students in the sophomore class begin their year with four days together where they are engaged in a community service experience that focused on the virtue of compassion. This time devoted to service in the community helped bring the class together and allowed individual students to make a difference in the lives of others. With that trip as a starting point, sophomores were asked to volunteer at least 20 hours of service during the year. Dawson’s sophomore class volunteered 1,764 hours at over 40 different agencies.
What I appreciated most about this sophomore experience is the opportunity that every member of the class had to make a formal presentation about their work. In presentations to small groups, sophomores were asked to comment on three questions: “What?” “So what?” and “Now what?” The “What” was a description of the experience including information about the mission of the organization and the population served. The “So What” was a reflection on the overall learning of the experience. Students commented on the particular needs in the community that are being filled by non-profit organizations. Finally, each student was asked to reflect on the future.
Matt Carter and I hosted a group as they made their presentations. Two students volunteered time at organizations that they themselves participated in when they were younger. One young man worked at a baseball academy while another student volunteered her time at a swim club. Both said they have a renewed respect for the adults who volunteer their time making sure that young people are able to have valuable experiences. The third student in our group helped to organize community movie nights in Superior. These events, designed to bring people in the community together... » read more